chapter  1
22 Pages


Toward a Theory of Playbuilding as Research
WithJoe Norris

This chapter focuses on the theories that underpin Playbuilding, it provides a short description of the method, so that the abstract conversation can be connected to concrete experiences. Although Playbuilding shares similar epistemological underpinnings with the nonfiction novel and with ethnodrama, it is different in both process and intent. In Playbuilding, as in a focus group or a “collective memory group”, a team of actors/researchers/teachers are assembled to discuss a topic of mutual concern. Unlike most focus groups in which the participants consider themselves solely as data sources, with Playbuilding, they are collaborators who play an active role in the writing and the performing of the data. Playbuilding attempts to take an organic approach to data generation. In the creation of scenes, Playbuilding operates in the world of the plausible/possible; the vignettes are an integration of the actual and the imaginary.